Chamber Music/ Classical/ Rock
2000 – Smart Pussy Records
Well, I’m back again with the follow up record to Catgut Ya’ Tongue? from that wonderfully quirky Australian string quartet FourPlay, and once again they have produced a record jam packed full of tasty originals and delicious cover versions.
We start out with their version of The Clouds’ Domino, which sets up this album perfectly with its softly singing violins and pounding backbeat, and then we move effortlessly into Sinead O’Connor’s Just Like U Said It Would B and the haunting original August which have so much echoing space throughout them that one almost gets lost. The album moves from these three amazing openers from strength to strength.
I think that this release has a certain lugubrious quality about it that pervades almost every track and adds such a depth to the music that the record transcends its place as ‘cover album’ and becomes an intricate piece of art in its own right. There is also so much on this record that appears to have more thought and originality in it then on their first album which is really nice to hear.
There is nothing whatsoever on The Joy Of that can be dismissed as trivial or ‘novelty’ (excepting their semi-comical version of Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again), and the group seem to have moved away from their traditional string quartet arranging towards a much more rock sound which makes this record, to my mind, something rather special. The glorious bursts of distortion on Ich Bin Ein Auslander, for instance, really bring the track into pure hard-rocking rage.
One downside, I suppose, would be the fact that very few of the songs contain vocals. My personal feeling is that, in this world that favours vocal driven pop, this record could have been elevated even further into a wonderful piece of accessible art if the band had decided to bring their vocals more to the fore. This is, however, a relatively small issue with an album that works so incredibly well without the use of vocals, and it is always a treat to be able to relax to a group’s musical skill alone.
In conclusion I would say that The Joy Of FourPlay is an exceptional record and really showcases what one can do with non-standard instrumentation. Each track is so well crafted and immaculately executed that one would be hard pressed to not find a lot of enjoyment with this album.
Well, I couldn’t find the track I wanted to play you all from FourPlay’s album ‘The Joy Of’, so instead I’m giving you this TED talk featuring the group.
- Catgut Ya’ Tongue? – Fourplay (ljfacesthemusic.wordpress.com)